The choice at the gas pump is easier for Nebraskans in their summer travel and recreational plans this year. And that choice is renewable, cost-effective and builds a strong economy. Here are 10 reasons to use ethanol-blended fuel this summer.
1. The most affordable fuel.
The drastic rise of gas prices in the busy summer months hurts our pocketbooks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) projection for the April-through-September summer driving season year is on average $3.61/gallon, 3 cents higher than last year. This year’s Memorial Day holiday saw drivers paying slightly more for gasoline than the previous two years, according to AAA. Thankfully, ethanol-blended fuel lowers gas prices up to $1.09 per gallon on average and saves the average American household $1,200 on their gas bill annually.
2. It’s renewable.
It’s no secret that Nebraska is the “Cornhusker” state and is notably the third largest corn producing state and second largest ethanol producing state in the nation. By growing 14 billion bushels of corn in the U.S. in 2013, corn is a renewable crop that provides for a reliable fuel source year after year. A recent poll by Fuels America found that 92 percent of U.S. adults support having renewable fuel at their local gas station, specifically E15 fuel – renewable fuel made of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.
3. Ethanol plants create food, feed and fuel.
An ethanol plant doesn’t just make fuel. When a bushel of corn travels to the plant to make fuel, it also makes food and other co-products in the process. Co-products include livestock feed called distillers grains, corn oil and other products that add to the food supply. In other words, we’re making food, feed and fuel. From one bushel of corn comes 2.8 gallons of ethanol in addition to 17 pounds of distillers grains. The strong ethanol industry in Nebraska is one of the main factors for the state’s recent status move into the number one cattle feeding state because of the availability of the high-protein, value-added distillers grains feedstuff.
4. Has not driven up food prices.
The price of corn is the lowest it’s been in three years, yet food prices have not come down. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) change in food prices index shows that food prices are going to continue to rise. So what is driving up food prices? Researchers at the World Bank identified crude oil as the number one determinant of global food prices; as the price of oil increases, food prices follow closely behind.
5. Builds up our state economy and growth of jobs.
Just in Nebraska alone, over 1,200 direct jobs are attributed to the ethanol industry, not to mention the hundreds of thousands indirect jobs across the country. Ethanol supports rural America, generating a $500 billion increase to communities’ farm assets around the country. When agriculture is healthy, the state economy is healthy.
6. Gives consumers a choice.
Ethanol, a renewable fuel, gives Nebraskans a choice when they go to fill up with gas. Those choices aren’t limited to the lower price of their gas bill, but also the chance to choose a domestic, clean-burning fuel that fuels our state’s economy as well. Those drivers with a flex fuel vehicle (FFV) have the choice to use any ethanol fuel blend up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).
7. Reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Compared with oil, ethanol-blended fuel burns cleaner and reduces harmful GHG emissions. Ethanol lowers the level of toxic, cancer-causing emissions in vehicle exhaust—reducing air pollution, improving human health, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
8. Ethanol is homegrown.
Ethanol has dramatically reduced the size of the checks America writes to foreign oil suppliers to the tune of $44 billion dollars saved last year. The U.S. reduced oil imports by 476 million barrels in 2013—the equivalent of about 12 percent of total U.S. crude oil imports, thanks to this renewable resource.
9. Use in boats and mowers.
With the summer months comes fun in the sun and in the yard. Ethanol-blended fuels up to 10 percent (E10) can be used successfully in marine watercraft and small engines, such as lawn mowers. Small engine owners should know that EPA has approved E15 only for automobiles manufactured in model year 2001 and newer, and it is not approved for any other engine use.
10. E15: tested and safe.
E15, fuel blended that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, has been the most aggressively and comprehensively tested fuel in the history of the EPA, which has been approved for its use in vehicles starting with the 2001 model year and newer. E15 saves more money at the pump, burns cleaner and supports our economy. NASCAR race cars have run more than 5 million miles on E15, starting with the 2011 racing season, and its drivers and mechanics give the fuel high marks for power and durability.